Cuarons cook up pix

Bros.' Anhelo skeds 'Mexico '68,' 'Toto'

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Alfonso and Carlos Cuaron, the Mexican brothers whose last collaboration, “Y tu mama tambien,” was an international hit, are ramping up a slate of projects to direct under the Anhelo banner that Alfonso Cuaron founded with producer Jorge Vergara.

Alfonso Cuaron, who directed and co-wrote the hit road movie starring Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, will direct his next Spanish-language pic in Mexico. He’ll take a bit of a break first after having wrapped directing the third Harry Potter installment, “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” slated for a worldwide June release.

His next project will take on a more serious topic, the bloody student revolt of 1968 in Mexico, according to Vergara. “The Crime of Father Amaro” screenwriter Vicente Lenero is penning the script to “Mexico ’68.”

Carlos Cuaron, meanwhile, is penning his directorial debut, “Toto.” The soccer drama will kick into production by the second half of this year, as will other Anhelo projects.

He also is writing drama “Juego de Ajedrez” (Chess) for Anhelo. Screenwriter Sabrina Berman (“Entre Pancho Villa y una mujer desnuda”) is working on a screenplay of “Las mujeres de Juarez,” based on the unsolved killings of women in the border town of Juarez.

Vergara, a millionaire businessman based in Guadalajara, and Alfonso Cuaron founded Anhelo to make “Y tu mama tambien” and other Spanish-language films.

Other Anhelo projects in development include “Tokyo Boogie” and “The Man on the Other Side of the Street,” which Salma Hayek is co-producing. Thesp may either direct or play the lead.

A recently completed Anhelo pic, Sebastian Cordero’s “Cronicas,” has been submitted to Cannes’ Directors Fortnight. “The Assassination of Richard Nixon,” an English-language pic made under Vergara’s U.S. label Monsoon, may either go to Cannes or Venice. The drama based on real-life events stars Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.

Vergara has allotted average budgets of $4 million to the pics shooting in Mexico. His English-language pics shooting in the U.S. will have budgets on average of $7 million-$8 million.

If all goes according to plan, Anhelo will have six projects in production during the second half of this year.

“Our first year in operation was slow because we just couldn’t find good scripts,” Vergara said.

David Linde and James Schamus of Focus Features, Universal’s specialty division, have an informal first-look option on any Anhelo pic. Pair handled “Y tu mama tambien” through their now-defunct Good Machine Intl.

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